When quarterback Deshaun Watson was heading toward the draft this year, Dabo Swinney, his head coach at Clemson, compared him to Michael Jordan when making the case for Watson to go with the first overall pick.
Watson didn’t go quite that high, although the wait wasn’t a particularly long one. The Texans traded up to take Watson with the 12th overall selection and Swinney unsurprisingly said on a Friday visit to PFT Live that he thinks it is “inevitable” that the team turns in his direction at some point this year.
Swinney also did his part to explain why Watson’s 30 interceptions over the last two years shouldn’t be a major concern for the Texans or their fans. After running through things other players did to cause interceptions that weren’t a result of bad decisions by Watson, Swinney pointed to the pace he wants his team to play at as another factor.
“We’re a team snapping the ball 85-plus times a game,” Swinney said. “We’ve led the nation in plays two years in a row, we had 100 plays against Alabama [in the national title game]. He’s going to have a lot more opportunities and we’re very aggressive. We’re going to push the ball and he’s done what we asked him to do.”
The Saints led the league with an average of just over 69 offensive plays a game last season with the Texans at just under 67, so Watson certainly won’t be taking the same number of snaps. He also won’t be facing college defenses, so there are likely to be some mistakes he got away with in college that will now be punished by opposing teams. His ability to limit those will play a major role in determining how successful he’ll be at his new level.